How to record your phone calls

There is nothing new about voice recording per se – call centres and helplines have been recording customer conversations for years “for training purposes”, and financial institutions now have to record mobile phone calls as well for their compliance reasons.But while big business is well served, there has been little around for consumers and small businesses- until now.

However there are now new services that enable consumers and small businesses to record telephone calls, store them to “the cloud” and then read transcripts or carry out key-word searches of the audio database, are potentially revolutionising the way we treat the spoken word.

Skype – the internet voice, video and text messaging giant – offers its customers a number of call recording apps from companies such as Amolto, Callnote and PrettyMay.

And Apple’s iTunes store features an app, by MotionApps, allowing iPhone and iPad users to record and transcribe their phone conversations.

But one award-winning UK startup, Calltrunk, is attracting particular attention for enabling its customers to record phone conversations made from any phone, anywhere, and make keyword searches of the audio database stored on its servers- and can be used on your PC or your mobile phone.

The company has won three technology awards for the way its search engine indexes time-stamped keywords from audio files, then adds meta-data to create a richer search experience.

Calltrunk can record and store conversations made via any phone – fixed line or mobile – and has currently amassed more than 20,000 customers worldwide after just over a year of operation.

Customers can record all their calls from 8p per minute for a Pay As You Go account- with other packages being available

Richard Newton, Calltrunk’s marketing director, says: “Companies record us, so why shouldn’t we record them? If there’s a dispute, they hold all the cards. We wanted to put power back into the hands of the consumer”.

But he argues the appeal of the service is much broader than a mere rebalancing of power for the purposes of dispute resolution.

“We see recording spoken conversations as just the next part of the journey,” Mr Newton says.

There are many additional potential uses:

  •     Research shows that people lie less often when they know they are being recorded
  •     Lawyers, doctors and other professionals often use jargon that is difficult to understand on first hearing
  •     Contractors often promise to deliver projects by a certain date – you could replay the evidence
  •     It is a useful way of recording oral family history

Calltrunk certainly isn’t focusing on the consumer market alone, and has a few global investment banks among its clients as well.

Another potential issue is consumer concern or confusion over the legality of recording voice calls.

Calltrunk maintains that when recording conversations for private purposes – as long as that recording is not shared with a third party – only one person needs to be aware of, and consent to, the recording.